Well another month has passed and I think if we are honest with ourselves most are in a much better place than we were four weeks ago, frustratingly for some on the heavier land every time it got within a couple of days of being able to drill, a few mm of rain would scupper the opportunity.
At a rough guess I think there is somewhere in the region of 70-80% of the wheat in with a variation of anything between 40-100% on any one farm. The lowest areas drilled are typically the proper heavy stuff!
Up until last week spraying was also progressing well with quite a few crops, barley, wheat and oilseed rape now being up to date. Two inches of rain last Wednesday to Sunday has in most client’s view scuppered any chance of drilling any more crops until the New Year.
I am not overly confident of getting any more spraying done this side of the new year as the ground is now totally saturated again ( It is chucking it down as I write this and set to rain heavily all night).
I want to now get two moans in (enough of talking about soggy ground and flooded crops), it seems to me that the HGCA has abandoned the west and left us to seek out our own technical updates this is both for farmers and agronomists.
I have trundled down to the agronomist meetings for some years now as they have been within reasonable travelling distance, but I draw the line at East of England Show Ground (as will many others this side of the M6) six hours in the car along with a big fuel bill does not stack up.
I will, hopefull,y see most of the speakers at events closer to home. I can see no sign of any other meetings in the West Midlands – are we supposed to ask the HGCA to come to us?)
My second moan is the continuing saga of clients being hit with deductions for wheat with specific weights less than 72kg/hl. It seems perverse that this time last year mills were clapping their hands with joy at vast tonnages of wheat being delivered in with specific weights as high as 85kg/hl with not a single hint of any bonuses being paid. But as soon as we hit what has now been shown to be one of the worst years on record for specific weights the proverbial sh** hits the fan.
None of my clients are claiming to have fantastic samples (most are putting a lot of effort into cleaning stored grain which is taking a lot of samples to a near respectable 71/72kg), it is the inconsistency of results from one mill to the next all from the same pile of wheat and also the deductions that are made which again seem to vary from one mill to the next . I would be interested to know if wheat being delivered in to mills is all tested with the same equipment and what standard this equipment meets (do Weights and Measures check equipment as they do with petrol stations delivering a litre of expensive diesel?).
Certainly the message from my clients is to make absolutely sure of what your specific weights and moisture contents are so that you can, hopefully, challenge with confidence any claims that look out of place. I do wonder if we have arrived at a point where wheat should be sold on a similar basis to OSR in that it is based not only on specific weight and moisture BUT also admix and bonuses on specific weights over 72kg/hl?
Now looking forward to some frosts to put the slugs to be.